Sometimes it can seem like no one helps when things go to sh*t. People may appear to offer several sentiments akin to get over it, move on, chill the f*ck out -- all similar to quiet down, hush, or calm down.
I don't know about you, but that statement of "calm down" really irks me in certain moments. Occasionally I want to scream in peoples' faces and spit at their eyes and yell, NO!I WILL RAGE AND YOU WILL LISTEN! That's tantrum me. It's get-back-at-you-when-you-say-bullsh*t-to-me me.
Get-back-at-you-spit-in-your-face lady feels awesome for, like... however long I rage. Thirty seconds? Thirty minutes? And yeah, it does feel good to rage sometimes. Like, way good. Because it's extreme and it courses through my veins as hormones and an emotion high my childhood built for me. It's comfortable, easy. It can be a limit, though. I didn't like to acknowledge this limit earlier in life because it seemed weak to recognize my own boundaries, like I should push myself past all of my limits in order to really be worthwhile as a human.
That was perfectionist time. It was constant anxiety and a physically stressed heart. Strength and confidence take time to develop, especially confidence in the face of untamed emotion and a skewer of scrutiny. Get-back-at-you-spit-in-your-face might have learned its original power through defiance and separation. This type of fury is helpful later in life but must have limits in order to be effective. To remain calm, sustain focus, and speak or think with kindness and a sense of community -- to do this after exhaustion and a sense of helplessness set in, woah. It's a big challenge sometimes! This challenge with frustration tolerance is part of what drew me to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Originally developed for people labelled with a particular definition, DBT is a type of therapy that helps people self-regulate thoughts and emotion responses to life. It encourages the concept of wise mind, which is when the logical part of the brain and the emotional part of the brain interact to deliver balance. For those who might self-harm, DBT methods encourage involving the sensations in a way that respects the body and its expression -- for example, moving an ice cube up and down along the forearm or touching a feather to the back of the hand.
DBT ideas are really helpful for the parts of me that want to rage because life can be so unfair. As I grapple with DBT's concept of radical acceptance, abuse is occasionally a thought hurdle. Seeing the and/or, accepting both black and white to see gray with abuse... it's hard to do this sometimes. Four months ago, I wrote about how abuse can be a broken record of art and mentioned how "no one helped me" in some situations. While it's true that no one physically stepped in to stop the situations from happening, and I can understand and embrace the idea that no one helped... upon recent reflection, I see how many people in many places offered assistance in the ways they were able. My grandmother, with her love and attention. She helped me build neural pathways for acceptance and joy. Certain teachers, certain parents of particular friends. Some strangers, lovers. Help is here with us even when we are not able to believe in it or see it. We are it and it is we.
Well hello there.